It is, without a doubt, one of the most awesome and terrifying rivers in the world.  Thousands of lives have been lost in its churning, violent waters.  The U.S. Dept. of Interior officially classifies it as “unnavigable.”  And despite its location in central New York State, it is as mysterious as if it were located in Darkest Africa, for most New Yorkers have never seen the longest part of it.  It is the Mohawk River.

    From its benign origins in Lewis County, the Mohawk River starts out as a peaceful and very ordinary river.  Flowing south to the town of Rome, it then turns east to Utica, after which it parallels the New York State Thruway.  But approximately 30 miles east of Utica, the river changes suddenly.  It becomes very turbulent, and from there until it empties into the Hudson River, it is over 60 miles of rampaging Death, and scientists have never been able to explain why.  It is as if the river has simply gone mad!

    The Indians of the region have an explanation, however — one based on their legends.  Thousands of years ago, good spirits and evil spirits fought for control of the land.  The good spirits pushed the evil spirits into what was then a small river and bound them in it with a magic spell.  The evil spirits turned the river into a seething torrent in their frantic efforts to get out.  The Indians call the river Kah-ne-sa-ta-ke, or “river of evil spirits.”  They don’t even try to fish it, for there are simply no fish.

    In 1821, an expedition led by Robert Hood attempted to navigate the Mohawk River, despite dire warnings from the Indians.  The entire expedition was torn to pieces by the freakish currents and sharp rocks and plunged to their deaths over the 160-foot cataract near what is now Amsterdam.

    On both banks the river is fenced off to keep people well away, but suicidal people have gotten past it anyway to throw themselves to instant death.  So, too, have daredevils who have attempted to float down the river in their “unsinkable” vessels of imaginative designs — pontoon rafts, tubes, bubble craft, and so on.  All have perished.

    Ten miles past Amsterdam’s “Cataract of Death,” the Mohawk passes through a canyon at a place known as the “Roaring Rapids,” where the sound is amplified into a deafening roar by the shape of the canyon walls.  It then flows north of Schenectady, gouging the earth like a knife, following a jagged path until it finally spills into the Hudson River opposite the town of Troy on the east bank.  Here it forms a vortex known as the Waterford Maelstrom, the fiercest whirlpool in any river on earth.  Boats must pass as far to the east bank of the Hudson as possible in order to avoid it.  Any careless boater who is sucked into it has little hope of survival.

    In the 1930’s, Army engineers studied the possibility of harnessing the Mohawk’s savage power to produce electricity, but the idea was abandoned as too dangerous.  There are no bridges over the violent portion of the Mohawk either, because there is no safe way to build them.

    The Mohawk River is a freak of nature and must be accepted as such.  What would happen if the spell that bound the evil spirits were broken, allowing them to escape?  Would the Mohawk River become peaceful again?  Or would all of central New York State become a Land of Horror?

    Copyright@ 2009 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.    E-mail:


Worm Holes

May 8, 2008

    The scientists (and when I say “the scientists,” I am referring, of course, to the scientists) have not yet acknowledged the existence of a phenomenon every one of us knows about from first-hand experience.

    Ten minutes ago, a box of matches that was supposed to be on the coffee table in front of me disappeared into nowhere.  I searched for it everywhere but couldn’t find it.  Then, after an interval of about five minutes, it was back, just where it was supposed to be.

    This has happened to everyone.  You’re looking for some simple object — a comb, a button, a pen, a note — that was right in front of you a moment ago, and it’s gone.  You search for it but can’t find it.  Then, when you’re not looking, it comes back mysteriously after a few minutes, or longer in some cases.  Either the object is exactly where it should have been, or in the general area, or, in the worst case, in some utterly inexplicable location (behind the fridge, under the sofa, in the bathroom, on the window sill, etc.).

    You probably thought your eyesight was going, or you had simply suffered an interval of temporary insanity.  But that’s not the explanation.  The truth is that the object disappeared into a “worm hole.”

    A “worm hole” is a kind of distortion in space-time that sort of spins into existence for unknown reasons.  It has two ends, like a tube, and it sort of flutters and floats around.  If one end passes over an object, poof!  It’s gone.  After a while, it comes out at either end, and the worm hole closes up and disappears.

    You may wonder, if this is so, why doesn’t your dog or your wife disappear?  Well, it’s simple.  They’re too big to slip into the worm hole.

    Now, I don’t want to hear any objections from psychologists that this is just a trick of the mind that everyone is subject to now and then.  That’s just what I’d expect them to say.  They want us to think there’s something wrong with our minds because they’re out to make a living.  They won’t admit the existence of ghosts, UFO’s, or psychic phenomena either.  It’s just our feeble minds playing tricks on us!

    Well, let me tell you, a friend of mine lost his keys.  He put them on the dresser and went into the bathroom to brush his teeth.  When he came back to the bedroom, the keys were gone.  He searched all over the bedroom, but to no avail.  Two hours later he found those keys — in the kitchen, of all places, in the cat litter!  But the cat was outside the whole time!  Explain that, Mr. Smarty-Pants Psychologist!


     Copyright @2008, by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada.  E-mail: